Fire rages down­stairs as Ada, Luigi sleep

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Elisha Pearce

ST MARYS cou­ple Luigi and Ada Zar­illi say they were min­utes away from death be­fore the sound of break­ing glass alerted them to a fire in their house.

The fire caused up to $100,000 worth of dam­age.

Last Wed­nes­day, Mr Zar­illi went about his nor­mal bed­time rou­tine, in­clud­ing brush­ing his teeth in the down­stairs bath­room, at 10.15pm.

Not long af­ter, the cou­ple was out­side their house as a fire gut­ted their garage, laun­dry and the same bath- room Mr Zar­illi had used to brush his teeth.

Mr Zar­illi, 83, said he and his wife, 77, re­tired to their sec­ond-floor bed­room at 10.35pm “and a quar­ter of an hour af­ter that, the tele­vi­sion went off; I thought there must be too much wind for the an­tenna”.

“Af­ter 10 or 15 min­utes, we heard some more loud noises,” Mr Zar­illi said.

“It was a boom, boom, boom.”

Then Mrs Zar­illi heard glass break­ing. “Win­dows were crack­ing and there was a lot of noise – it couldn’t just be wind,” she said.

As Mr Zar­illi walked down the stairs to check on the noise, he saw smoke from the bot­tom floor.

“Then I opened the front door and saw fire com­ing out of the front of the garage,” hei said.

A neigh­bour had ar­rived home around the same time, af­ter a night out at the foot-

We were lucky to be alive be­cause our bed­room is above the garage. If we just went to sleep, we’d be dead. Just a cou­ple of min­utes later and the fire might have reached us. Ada Zar­illi

ball, spot­ted the fire and called triple-0 to alert Fire & Res­cue NSW. The emer­gency ser­vice ar­rived quickly and put the fire out.

Mrs Zar­illi said: “We were lucky to be alive be­cause our bed­room is above the garage.

“If we just went to sleep, we’d be dead.

“Just a cou­ple of min­utes later and the fire might have reached us.”

It isn’t known what started the fire and po­lice are not treat­ing it as sus­pi­cious.

Mr Zar­illi said they were told it might have been an elec­tri­cal fire that be­gan in the garage roller door mo­tor — which is now a twisted wreck in their front yard.

“They can’t be sure what it is, but it’s some­thing around the garage that’s elec­tri­cal,” he said.

De­spite the fire be­ing put out quickly, it spread through­out the en­tire bot­tom-level garage, bath­room and laun­dry, black­en­ing the walls and cup­boards and turn­ing ev­ery­thing else to ash.

The cou­ple lost ex­er­cise ma­chines, an­tique fur­ni­ture, books, gen­eral stor­age, DVDs and old video tapes from the 1990s.

Mrs Zar­illi said: “We are lucky it wasn’t worse.”

De­spite los­ing those posses­sions, Mr and Mrs Zar­illi were thank­ful for their lucky es­cape.

Mr Zar­illi said: “If we didn’t hear the noise we would have suf­fo­cated.

“It just wasn’t my time, you see.”

Luigi and Ada Zar­illi were lucky to es­cape a fire at their St Marys house and (right) the laun­dry was ex­ten­sively dam­aged. Pic­tures: Carmela Roche

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